Junior pitcher Nathan Woods tossed a complete game shutout Thursday, propelling the No. 7 seed Colonials to a 5–0 win over the No. 3 seed Fordham Rams. The win advances GW to the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship.
“It’s just the playoff atmosphere that pushes me. I don’t get nervous. I seize the day, and I take care of what I’m supposed to take care of,” Woods said. “I’ve been playing this game for too long to get on that mound and have nerves.”
The Rams (35-19-1) managed only seven hits and walked just once with Woods on the mound. When the Rams faced Woods during conference play April 22, he also threw a complete game, besting the team on their turf 7–2.
Woods’ performance comes after sophomore pitcher Jaret Edwards held VCU to one run in GW’s elimination game Wednesday night. The pitching staff has held opponents to a combined one run on 16 hits in the last two games of the tournament.
For the Colonials (31-25), designated hitter Dominic D’Alessandro did damage at the plate. The junior walked once and had a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate with three runs batted in – a single, a double and a home run. He had a hand in all five of GW’s runs.
The early innings saw Woods get into jams early and often, but he was able to escape each one unscathed.
Fordham was in position to do damage in the first inning, when one-out singles by freshman shortstop Jake MacKenzie and sophomore right fielder Alvin Melendez put two men on base. In the cleanup spot, junior first baseman Brian Goulard was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs before Woods got sophomore infielder Matt Tarabek to pop up, ending the threat.
Leading off the second inning, freshman infielder C.J. Vasquez was issued a free pass when senior utility player Isaiah Pasteur fumbled an easy ground ball at second base. Woods then walked designated junior hitter Reiss Knehr in four-straight pitches.
Despite having two runners in scoring position with one out, Fordham was unable to get the runners home. Woods escaped another jam with an infield pop-up and a strikeout to wrap up the second frame.
D’Alessandro found his rhythm in the second inning when he smacked a double off the right-center field wall. Sophomore infielder Nate Fassnacht followed up with a ground ball base hit to shallow center field. The throw from center field was off-line, allowing D’Alesandro to cross home plate and get the Colonials on the board.
After senior outfielder Mark Osis led off the fourth inning with a four-pitch walk, D’Alessandro delivered once again with a first-pitch blast over the left field wall. The two-run home run was his eighth of the year, and gave the Colonials a 3–0 lead.
“We’ve been hitting the ball hard, right at people. These last couple of games we’ve gotten some more balls to fall, and it’s been scoring some runs,” D’Alessandro said. “I was just trying to get the job done, and do what I can to help the team. I just want to be unselfish.”
In the sixth inning, D’Alessandro got the line moving with a leadoff walk. He later scored following back-to-back singles from Fassnacht and senior outfielder Matt Cosentino.
The Colonials were able to get an additional insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning when D’Alessandro picked up his third and final RBI of the night on a single that scored sophomore outfielder Steve Barmakian.
Woods cruised after the fourth inning, working efficiently and keeping runners from reaching scoring position.
“Once I got a three-up, three-down inning, I just started cruising because that’s where my confidence is going to come from – from getting that three-up, three-down, getting my guys back in the dugout, so they can hit and get the runs we need,” Woods said. “So it started with that, having the grit.”
The Colonials will face No. 4 Richmond in the semifinal round Friday at 3:30 p.m.